Our world is shifting toward fast, snackable media, where people can absorb a message in a few blinks — literally. That opens up a natural shift to video content becoming the dominant force. For most, video is intimidating, but there are a handful of key steps to follow to help create a masterpiece. We’ll focus our thoughts specifically on the process we follow when creating videos that are largely built using motion graphics animation and still images. However, this process is tried and true, and provides a solid guide post for all video work including live action commercials, video spots, and even a well thought out social post. To be fair, it likely overkill for social content, but great content is great content.
Nail down the concept
The process starts with the concept. Dream up something powerful, and don’t let the haters reign you in until you feel really good about how the conceptual story will come to life. We try to focus our concept on what the “main message” needs to highlight, and the “main objectives” we’re trying to pull off. This will help maintain a true North North throughout the process. As a frame, a good example of objectives would be to delight, inform and drive action, or the specific focus we would want the user to take after finishing viewing.
We rally the troops for one brief planning session to clearly articulate and bring to life the main goals and expectations of the final product. This will set everyone up for success in creating the Art and Storyboards for the video as well as the strategy to produce the video. Planning covers the logistics and requirements needed to maintain a level of realism with anyone who is involved.
Whether you’re creating a 30 second explainer video, or a 5 minute deep dive explainer video, an essential exercise coming out of planning & concepting is constructing storyboards. Storyboards can take many forms depending on the video direction, but for this exercise, we invest time to sketch/illustrate a series of panels that outline exactly what content will be featured before designing and animating anything.
Design is arguably the most valuable step in making a solid video. Storyboards enable us to create an overarching story, visually, while creating a unified Art Direction for the video. This step is for designing each frame to source content and begin showcasing how the content will look & feel prior to animating.
Motion Graphics / Animation
This step definitely needs a key player who knows After Effects or other Video Production software to layer in animated digital elements and bring the video to life through words and visuals on the screen. This step is specifically for taking the layered “build” files and dropping them into AfterEffects. Magic, initiated.
Both the music selection and voice talent, should the project call for it are the complement to the visuals. Music and Voice can make or break any project. We leverage a service like Premium Beat to find royalty free stock tracks and listen based on the mood we are looking for until we “feel” the track. It’s an emotional connection, much like finding the voice talent — once you hear it, your intuition should signal you. Our best recommendation to voice talent and studio recording sessions is Studio Center. They are masters in casting, recording and production.
Once we finish each of these steps, we are quite close to having a masterpiece. Beyond the client providing their feedback and pressure testing the video, we also ship it out to people who are completely disconnected from the project brief to see how they react. Unbiased, user feedback is incredibly helpful when getting a sense check on quality.